Reading's beleaguered players and fans must stick together like never before as Brian McDermott attempts to steer them out of the Premier League relegation zone, the manager said on Tuesday after witnessing his side's sixth defeat of the season.
With only winless Queens Park Rangers below them, Reading have much work to do to preserve their top-flight status having been promoted as champions last season. Manchester United visit next, so the Royals must really show their mettle.
"Now we have to stick together, it's really important that we do that as a group," McDermott said after Reading were beaten by the only goal in Tuesday's bottom-of-the-table tussle with Aston Villa.
"It's important the fans stick with us and try to get us over the line, to get a result from somewhere, hopefully on Saturday.
"We want some momentum having lost the last couple. We'd beaten Everton, which was a great day, but the last two haven't been great."
With one win, six draws and six defeats, Reading have nine points from their 13 matches, two fewer than next placed Southampton and four fewer than Villa, who sit just above the drop zone.
Frustrated by Tuesday's narrow defeat, McDermott called on his players to transfer training ground skills to the big stage.
"I said to the players we need to create more in the final third, our wide players need to get in more instead of crossing from deep," he told Reading's website.
"I see quality day in and day out on the training ground but it didn't happen tonight. Anything away from home in the Premier League is difficult but we just keep going.
"Now you find out a lot about your players and staff about how you bounce back," he added.
"Over the years we've done that really well. Now it's Manchester United and for me it doesn't get any better. We're still in a great situation, we're in the Barclays Premier League and fighting to stay in there for next season.
"If we keep going we'll get our rewards."
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